This blog entry was actually posted on December 3, 2015.
This article is from WLUFA Advocate 1.1 October 2012.
Full-time Faculty Liaison
These are historic times for collective bargaining units in Canada: as resources shrink, unions will have greater challenges to face. My particular concern pertains to the increasingly stressful working conditions that we as academics are confronting in this new reality.
I am committed to bringing attention to the acceleration of professional incivility and bullying on all our campuses. A recent workshop on the issue was held this past spring on the Waterloo campus, and to judge from the attendance and engagement of the participants, bullying is a concern for many constituencies. The problem cuts a wide swath through our workplace: gender is certainly a consideration, but it is not the only contributing factor to the toxicity that now shapes our professional lives. The effects on productivity and morale are easy enough to recognize, but apparently more difficult to address.
Over the next few months I will be reporting on current research concerning dysfunctional academic environments. My aim is to identify the issue more clearly and to work constructively towards finding solutions to this growing problem.
Contract Faculty Liaison
As the WLUFA liaison for CAS, my role on the Communications Committee is to make sure our voices are heard and that we build solidarity and support across our bargaining and discipline sectors. I view this newsletter as the vehicle to ensure that there is a place to engage in larger conversations with one another and to practice democracy while defending education.
I encourage all contract faculty to read the items in this newsletter related to both the possible provincial legislation regarding bargaining and also to the IPRM process that is planned for this university. Both could have serious repercussions for us, the most “at risk” at WLU.
As we head into another round of bargaining at the end of this academic year, it is imperative that we remain informed and that we do all we can to be sure that our collective voices are heard here at Laurier.
Brantford Faculty Liaison
WLUFA members of the Brantford Campus (Laurier Brantford) have designated representation on the WLUFA Executive Committee and on the Communications Committee. It is my job, as Brantford Liaison Officer, to act as a spokesperson and advocate for Brantford faculty and academic librarians, including both regular and contract faculty, in representing their concerns to WLUFA and to membership at large.
There are a unique set of challenges facing faculty at Laurier Brantford and this column in the newsletter will address issues of special concern for Brantford faculty.
Over the last few months, in the hallways and at meetings, there are some key issues that Brantford faculty talk about – a lot. The issues are workload, compensation, IPRM, and multi-campus governance. Workload is perhaps of greatest concern. In April 2011, the final report of the “Bilateral Committee on Brantford Campus Workload” was submitted to the WLU administration. It clearly spells out that Brantford faculty labour under a heavy burden, teaching large classes with no teaching assistants, and performing two to four times more in service commitments and obligations than faculty at the Waterloo campus.
Closely related to excessive workload, Brantford faculty are paid $3,000 less than faculty in the Faculty of Arts, WLU and $10,000 less than the average for all faculty at the Waterloo Campus, WLU.
The WLU administration challenged these figures in the last round of collective bargaining, and WLUFA failed to gain any increase in salaries for Brantford faculty.
On the IPRM front, the recent motion passed at the WLUFA General Meeting on Oct. 4, 2012 to advise members to not participate in the IPRM (as long as the process is undemocratic), is most welcome in Brantford. If IPRM proceeds, the Brantford Campus has a number of small and new programs and a sizeable labour force of contract faculty, all of which would be at risk of being cut to satisfy the neo-liberal agenda of the WLU administration.
Lastly, multi-campus governance will affect the Brantford Campus directly. Brantford faculty in certain programs (e.g. English, Psychology, History) have serious concerns about their teaching and service, especially if they are required to report to and receive direction from Waterloo Campus departments. At the last Executive Meeting (September 25, 2012), I reminded the WLUFA Executive of the concerns of the Brantford faculty. I will continue to press WLUFA to ensure that Brantford issues are addressed.